Essy’s Carriage House in Cherrydale appears to have been sold, but it remains a mystery to whom.
The long-time, well-known restaurant on Langston Blvd closed in March and went on the market shortly thereafter for two million dollars.
Now, an “under contract” sign has appeared next to the building. The listing webpage also notes that an offer is “contingent.”
“Rare offering of the Essys Carriage House restaurant and parking lot located behind Essys that totals 17,269 Sq Ft,” reads the listing. “The restaurant is sited on a 2,099 Sq Ft lot that is zoned C-2 and is approximately 1,800 Sq Ft with two basements for storage and utilities. The parking lot is comprised of two parcels totaling approximately 15,170 Sq Ft that is zoned R-6. The property is vacant, conveys as-is & a majority of the restaurant equipment & personal property has been removed.”
ARLnow contacted real estate firm Yeonas & Shafran and they did confirm the former location of Essy’s is currently under contract, but could not disclose any more information than that. We have also reached out to a prominent local restaurant group that has been rumored to be behind the purchase but have yet to hear back as of publication.
The steak and crab cake Cherrydale eatery closed a couple of months ago after serving the community for nearly fifty years. The married couple who had run it, Essy and Janet Saedi, decided to retire.
That portion of Cherrydale has seen a good deal of turnover in recent years with the shuttering of several long-time restaurants.
In September 2021, Portabellos closed but was replaced only a few months later by Pines of Florence itself making a comeback after stints in Virginia Square and Columbia Pike. Tuna Restaurant serving Laotian and Japanese cuisine opened in October 2022, replacing Maneki Neko Express. But that restaurant was quickly sold to new owners who re-opened last month with a more Thai-focused menu.
Well-regarded Gaijin Ramen Shop at 3800 Langston Blvd also shuttered in September 2022, citing “irrecoverable business losses” due to the pandemic. It had been there since 2015.
Tuna Restaurant in Cherrydale has been sold to a new owner, who is reopening with a more Thai-focused menu today (Friday).
The restaurant at 3813 Langston Blvd that served Laotian and Japanese cuisine was put up for sale only a few months after it initially opened, replacing Maneki Neko Express. Owner Sak Vong told ARLnow in late February that he was selling because of a “new business opportunity overseas.”
And, fairly quickly, it found a buyer in Leesburg-resident May Ditnoy, who also owns a catering company with her mother.
The plan, Ditnoy told ARLnow, is to reopen today after being shut down for a week to “upgrade” the menu and make minor layout changes. The restaurant will keep the “Tuna” name for the moment and will serve Thai and Japanese cuisine, similar to the previous menu.
This is Ditnoy’s first restaurant, but she couldn’t pass up the opportunity of a fully built-out kitchen that served a similar cuisine to what her and her mom plan to cook.
“[Building] a brand new restaurant is definitely a lot of investment and money, so this is big for us,” she said. “We are very fortunate to find Tuna Restaurant, though it could be in better condition, we can definitely improve and work with it. The fact that they served Laotian and Japanese cuisine is good too.”
The neighborhood is also a big plus, Ditnoy said. In recent weeks, she’s walked the neighborhood and eaten a number of different places in Cherrydale. Her experiences have convinced her to reopen Tuna.
A new name is “in the works,” but Ditnoy didn’t want to delay opening her first restaurant by waiting on name change paperwork. Both she and her mom are excited those first customers to come in today.
“This is a great spot for us,” Ditnoy said. “All in all, this is going to be a great place for us to start.”
(Updated at 11:25 a.m.) With the weather warming up, local farmers markets are reopening for the spring season.
Arlington has eight official farmers markets. Three markets are coming back this month to sell produce, including the following.
- Ballston on Thursdays from 3-7 p.m. starting April 6
- Cherrydale on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon starting April 15
- Lubber Run on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon starting April 15
Two markets will also be reopening next month:
- Rosslyn on Wednesdays from 3-7 p.m. starting May 3
- Fairlington on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting May 7
Some markets are open year-round but are shifting hours for the new season.
- Westover on Sundays from 8 a.m. to noon starting May 7
- Arlington (in Courthouse) on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon, started April 1
- Columbia Pike on Sundays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m year-round
The Courthouse farmers market is the oldest in the county, having started operations in 1979.
In recent years, two farmers markets in Arlington have closed up shop. The Marymount University market shuttered in 2020 amid the pandemic and county officials said in 2021 that it was likely for good. The Crystal City farmers market ran for over a decade, from 2010 to 2021, but didn’t sell produce last year. It’s unclear whether it will open this year.
While last week‘s landmark zoning decision legalized 2-6 unit homes throughout Arlington’s lowest-density neighborhoods, about 136 properties will be ineligible for such projects.
The exemption applies to certain 5,000-6,000 square-foot lots — the county’s smallest standardized residential lot size, dubbed R-5 and R-6, respectively — located near transit and within planning districts in East Falls Church, Cherrydale and Columbia Pike.
In the nearly 150-page long report on the zoning ordinance changes, Arlington County says the three properties in East Falls Church, 49 properties in Cherrydale and 82 near the Pike could be assembled with other properties that previous planning efforts have identified for redevelopment.
“Within these planning districts, there are locations where reinvestment has not yet occurred and assembly of the R-5 and R-6 zoned parcels with parcels along the corridor frontage could realize identified plan goals for the revitalization district,” per the county report outlining the approved Missing Middle zoning changes.
Assembling these properties with nearby lots could allow developers to realize the vision for these corridors, the report says.
This includes “mixed use development, improvements to the public realm, walkability, increased housing supply, housing affordability, and creation of coordinated buffer or transition zones to lower density residential areas,” the county says.
In East Falls Church, transit-oriented development near the Metro station has languished and many planning goals from a 2011 East Falls Church Area Plan remain unrealized. While there are some new townhouses within walking distance, an empty parking lot and a standalone parking garage are two examples of “prime real estate” awaiting redevelopment.
This includes two single-family homes — across the street from the “Kiss and Ride” lot — identified for potential redevelopment in the 2011 plan, which faced strong opposition from some who said it encouraged too much development, despite the proximity to a Metro station.
The other exempted property, though zoned as residential, is home to a telecommunications building owned by Verizon and a parking lot. The back of this surface parking lot is across the street from the East Falls Church Metro station; some commuters use it to cut through the block north of the station, per the 2011 plan.
“The Verizon building is anticipated to remain in use for the foreseeable future,” the 2011 plan notes. “However the rear portion of the lot, which is a largely unused parking lot, has potential for redevelopment.”
The plan envisions townhouses or low-rise multifamily development of three to four stories. Verizon did not return a request for comment about plans for the site.
Such development “should accommodate a dedicated pedestrian path through the entire site from Lee Highway to Washington Boulevard that would formalize this vital connection,” the plan says.
If the Virginia Dept. of Transportation and WMATA move forward with plans to redevelop a commuter lot across the street, the connection could also get a new signalized crossing between the — potentially — redeveloped lots. Around this time last year, neither agency indicated progress toward redeveloping the site, citing barriers such as restrictive zoning.
At the time, a county planner told ARLnow that without higher building heights, there may not be much of an incentive to build.
“Those costs are real,” Natasha Alfonso said. “There has to be enough density to justify that kind of improvement on those sites. If the community wants walkable, transit-oriented development, those are things we have to consider.”
Another 82 properties are located within the Columbia Pike Special Revitalization District, including some along 12th Street S., a few blocks south of the Pike.
Retail businesses have struggled to make a go of it at 3800 Langston Blvd, but another looks set to give it a try.
The condo building in Cherrydale has seen several homegrown businesses open on the ground floor and garner good reviews, only to close a few years later. Six years ago it was tea house and foot soaking “sanctuary” House of Steep. This past September it was Gaijin Ramen Shop.
But signs are up for a new store is up. “L.A. Leaf” will offer CBD and vape products, the signage suggests.
There’s no word yet on when the store might open. The interior still appears mostly bare and the shop’s website, listed on a sign, is not yet functional.
The shop will join an existing ATM-only Chase Bank vestibule, which remains open, in the building’s street-facing retail bays.
Arlington County police are on scene at the Dunkin’ Donuts in Cherrydale for a report of a stolen tip jar and a stolen car.
Initial reports suggest that a man swiped the tip jar at the restaurant, located at 3520 Langston Blvd, then hopped into someone else’s car and drove off in the direction of Rosslyn. Police are on scene investigating.
This is at least the second larceny involving a Cherrydale business in as many days.
According to today’s Arlington County Police Department crime report, someone broke into a business and stole tires from 11 cars. The theft happened early Monday morning on the 3900 block of Langston Blvd, an address that seemingly corresponds with the Brown’s Honda dealership.
More below from the ACPD crime report.
LARCENY FROM AUTO (Late), 2023-03200059, 3900 block of Langston Boulevard. At approximately 7:43 a.m. on March 20, police were dispatched to the late report of a larceny from auto. Upon arrival, it was determined between approximately 1:15 a.m. and 3:15 a.m., the unknown suspect(s) forced entry onto a lot of a business, caused property damage and stole tires from 11 vehicles. There are no suspect descriptions. The investigation is ongoing.
Tuna Restaurant in Cherrydale is on the market, one of several Arlington restaurants publicly listed for sale.
The restaurant at 3813 Langston Blvd, serving Laotian and Japanese cuisine, opened in September after taking over the former space of Maneki Neko Express.
First-time restaurant owner Sak Vong expressed to ARLnow at the time high hopes for the revitalization of the Cherrydale neighborhood, which had just seen the closure of the well-regarded Gaijin Ramen Shop across the street.
Vong told ARLnow last week that he is selling because of a “new business opportunity overseas.”
The listing for Tuna on a business brokerage website says it’s bringing in more than $40,000 per month, has positive diner reviews, and has “plenty of room to grow.” The new owners would be able to retain the staff of six, says the listing, which comes with a $195,000 asking price. The restaurant’s lease reportedly runs through September 2025.
Several other Arlington restaurants are currently listed for sale on the brokerage site, though the identities of each have not been revealed. Among them:
- Popular Restaurant & Bar for sale in Arlington — $225,000
“Restaurant & bar for sale on a high traffic road in Arlington VA. This restaurant was established in 2019 built out with all brand new furniture, fixtures and equipment which are all still in pristine condition. Excellent menu consisting of a variety of appetizers, burgers, sandwiches, salads as well as an assortment of mouth watering specialty entrees. The highlight of this restaurant is the bar which serves numerous craft beers, wines, large whisky selection, liquor and specialty cocktails.”
- 5 Day Cafe in Prime Location — $89,000
“Prime location restaurant and cafe on a main road in Arlington opened only 5 days a week. Surrounded by office buildings, apartments and retail makes this a great location given the high volume walking traffic during work hours and evenings. This restaurant has been in business since 2016. The current menu consists of soups, salads, sandwiches and much more but can be converted to fit most menus/concepts.”
- Low Rent & Profitable Free Standing Restaurant — $279,000
“Profitable free standing restaurant in Arlington VA located on a heavy traffic road surrounded by residential. This restaurant has been in business since 1998 and has EXTREMELY LOW RENT for this area. The current menu and concept can be converted to almost any type of food or be kept the same. Very big kitchen great for catering and to accommodate large orders. With a rent of $5,700 per month and annual sales around $800,000 this is an excellent money making opportunity. 5 star google reviews.”
- Absentee Owned Franchise Sandwich Shop — $99,000
“Absentee owned national franchise sandwich shop/deli in Arlington. Conveniently located on a heavy traffic road surrounded by office buildings and residential. The menu consists of mostly deli sandwiches but can be converted to fit most menus. Large kitchen with high end equipment. Extremely low rent considering the location. MUST SEE!! Please inquire for more information. Current owner is ready to retire.”
- Fantastic Corner Cafe’ and Market — $145,000
“European café and market. Serving breakfast, lunch, evening snacks and deserts. All types of coffees, lattes, and teas. Pastries and bagels. Sandwiches, soups, and salads. Chips, candy, cigarettes’, and Ice cream, Refreshments, select micro beers, and fine wines. Inside and outside seating. A real must see.”
ARLnow reached out to Rebellion on the Pike, which opened in 2019, given the similarity between it and the “Popular Restaurant & Bar for sale in Arlington” listing. We have not heard back as of publication time.
Arlington County is looking to buy homes within the Spout Run watershed for flood mitigation.
Since last fall, the county has notified some three dozen property owners in the Cherrydale and Waverly Hills civic associations by letter of its interest in buying their properties for stormwater management. The letters targeted areas that were hit hard by recent flooding events, like the floods seen in July 2019.
Should they agree to sell, the county would tear down the homes, remove infrastructure such as driveways, and then regrade and replant the land to minimize erosion. Properties would be preserved for open space.
“Phased property acquisition is a necessary component of a resilient stormwater improvement program to provide overland relief and reduce flood risk to the community,” Dept. of Environmental Services spokeswoman Katie O’Brien said. “Voluntary property acquisitions will be targeted to areas in the five critical watersheds at higher risk of flooding due to existing topography.”
The county’s first priority is to create “overland relief,” or a safe path for stormwater to flow during large rain events, per presentation materials on the county’s website. It contends that there is not enough public space to provide those paths or make infrastructure upgrades, and, crucially, that existing stormwater systems were built assuming sufficient overland relief to handle anything stronger than a 10-year storm (which has a 10% chance of happening annually).
“There is not sufficient available space within existing rights-of-way to maintain the infrastructure, make resilient system upgrades, or to provide overland relief,” the presentation says. “There is no long-term solution to reduce flood risk in Spout Run without adding overland relief.”
The solution is a long time in coming for some in the Waverly Hills Civic Association, which — along with the Cherrydale Citizens Association — has met with Arlington County about stormwater management solutions since 2018.
WHCA President Paul Holland says he has heard several residents express frustrations related “to the extended timeline to identify a solution” to the flooding that occured in recent years.
“For the Waverly Hills Civic Association, stormwater issues are our top priority. Our neighbors were dramatically impacted by major flooding events in 2018 and 2019,” he said.
Both Holland and Cherrydale Citizens Association President Jim Todd said several questions remain unanswered, however.
“There was a lot of concern that the county was really, really vague and didn’t seem to know or be willing to share what they intend to do with any of the properties they intend to acquire,” Todd said, adding that he heard from constituents who felt they didn’t get much clarity after calling the county’s real estate office.
Although WHCA members worked with the county to develop an FAQ page addressing many of the questions, they too have outstanding concerns.
“Our primary concern is that the acquired lots will be well designed and taken care of by the County to become usable park land and/or attractive open space as neighborhood amenities,” said Holland.
Todd, however, said he is unsure how the county will be able to create any meaningful overland relief if only a smattering of people sell.
It’s the day after Valentine’s Day and Janet Saedi is tired.
It was extremely busy and a bit “overwhelming” at Essy’s Carriage House last night, she tells ARLnow, while taking a breather at a white-clothed table adorned with fresh cut flowers right before the lunch rush. Janet cooks, manages, and does ordering for the restaurant.
She’s also the wife of owner Essy Saedi, who’s stepped out to go to the bank and grocery store.
After nearly five decades of serving, Essy’s Carriage House in Cherrydale will permanently shut its doors at the end of next month. The couple is retiring. The news was first reported by Charlie Clark for the Falls Church News-Press last week.
So, throughout Valentine’s Day, new diners and long-time customers alike were coming to get one last holiday meal at the long-time Langston Blvd landmark.
But, really, it’s been busy like this since Janet and Essy first started telling regulars their plans at the end of last year. It’s been tough on them.
“It’s really been fundamentally the two of us running this place,” Janet said. “But it’s been beautiful.”
The restaurant opened in 1975 with Essy Saedi fully taking over as owner a year later. It’s been a local staple ever since, serving up steak, liver, and crab cakes.
There were a few lean years in there, Janet says. The 2007-2008 recession was tough and, more recently, the pandemic forced the restaurant cut some staff. That’s left the two of them to do most of the work.
Janet and Essy were married in the 1980s and she joined him working at the restaurant later that decade. She notes with a laugh that it’s Essy who gets a lot of attention. He has a “quirky sense of humor that some people adore…and there are people who don’t quite get it.”
And he loves his customers back, she says. While he still does a lot of the prep work, sauce-making, and meat-braising, he’s most often out among the people in the dining room greeting, joking, and soaking it all in.
Janet knows it’s going to be tough for both of them when the time comes to lock the door for the final time.
“I don’t know how it’s going to feel at the end. I’m very comfortable that we’re doing the right thing,” she said. “There’s some element of relief. But it’s not going to be without emotion.”
As we talk, the phone rings while several customers come in asking for a table. It’s getting busy already and Essy is still out doing a few errands.
RJ McGlasson is one of those customers, sitting at a table by the wall. She tells ARLnow she’s been coming to Essy’s since the late 1970s with her husband.
“This is a dying breed,” McGlasson said. “It’s a great place where locals come and the food is good. It’s just like losing a member of the family.”
Arlington County police are investigating a pair of vehicle thefts along the Langston Blvd corridor.
The incidents happened Friday night or early Saturday morning. Two thieves wearing facial coverings stole cars in Cherrydale and near Courthouse, according to an ACPD crime report. Both stolen vehicles were later located in Alexandria, police said.
The thieves also allegedly attempted, unsuccessfully, to steal a car at an apartment complex on Spout Run Parkway.
From the crime report:
GRAND LARCENY AUTO/VEHICLE TAMPERING, 2022-12160312/12170013/12170061, 1900 block of Key Boulevard/3000 block of Spout Run Parkway/2100 block of N. Monroe Street. At approximately 11:32 p.m. on December 16, police were dispatched to the report of a stolen vehicle. The investigation determined between approximately 6:30 p.m. on December 16 and 4:23 a.m. on December 17, the two unknown male suspects broke rear windows, tampered with the ignition and stole two vehicles in the 1900 block of Key Boulevard and the 2100 block of N. Monroe Street and attempted to steal a third vehicle in the 3000 block of Spout Run Parkway. The two stolen vehicles were subsequently located and recovered in the City of Alexandria. No items were reported stolen from inside the vehicles.
Also on Friday, teens driving around in an SUV allegedly fired a pellet gun at at least one person walking by near the intersection of George Mason Drive and Langston Blvd.
Similar incidents were reported earlier this year and earlier this month. This particular pellet gun drive-by happened after dismissal on the last day of school before winter break for APS students.
More from ACPD:
ASSAULT & BATTERY (Significant), 2022-12160182, N. George Mason Drive at Langston Boulevard. At approximately 4:10 p.m. on December 16, police were dispatched to the report of suspicious circumstances. The investigation indicates unknown male suspect(s) discharged a water pellet gun from a vehicle, striking at least one victim. The victim did not require medical attention. The suspect vehicle is described as a black SUV with three juvenile male occupants. The investigation is ongoing.
Scanner: Police investigating report of teens driving around parts of N. Arlington, shooting a pellet gun out of the window.
Of note, today is the last day of school before winter break for APS.
— Arlington Now (@ARLnowDOTcom) December 16, 2022
A new Laotian restaurant has moved into Cherrydale.
Tuna Restaurant opened in early September at 3813 Langston Blvd, two doors down from historic Cherrydale Hardware. It’s taking over the former space of Maneki Neko Express.
This is the owner Sak Vong’s first restaurant, he told ARLnow via email, and he believes it’s the only Laotian eatery in Arlington. A quick internet search backs up this claim, with the closest other Laotian restaurant being in Falls Church.
Vong said the aim is to serve modern versions of traditional Laotian cuisine like “flying Lao noodles” and Laotian sushi. He also said he envisioned a “revitalization” of that section of Cherrydale.
Laotian cuisine, similar in some ways to its neighbors Thailand and Vietnam, is gaining popularity here in America. Meals typically revolve around sticky rice, larb, and papaya salad.
Sushi restaurant Maneki Neko Express opened in 2015, as a companion to its original location in Falls Church. The Falls Church restaurant remains open.
ARLnow has reached out to Maneki Neko about when and why it closed its Cherrydale location but has yet to hear back.
There have been several relatively recent openings and closings in Cherrydale.
Across the street from Tuna, Gaijin Ramen Shop closed several weeks ago after seven years of business citing the reason as “irrecoverable business losses” due to the pandemic. Around the corner is long-time local Italian restaurant Pines of Florence, which reopened in that location about ten months ago. A half block away is an Uyghur restaurant Bostan, which opened about a year ago.